Are Weight Loss Medications Right For You? Read On!
There are a number of new weight loss medications available on the market today. However, these drugs are not intended for the average person who has an extra 10 pounds to lose before their wedding. Prescription weight loss medications are designed for people who are significantly obese or have weight-related medical problems that must be corrected quickly to prevent further complications. Here is a basic guide to determining if weight loss drugs may be right for you. Of course, you must always consult your doctor for a thorough evaluation and prescription.
There are certain guidelines concerning who may be prescribed weight loss medications. A patient must have a body mass index that is over 30 unless they have other obesity-related health conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure. These severe medical conditions lower the body mass index requirement to 27. Whether a medical condition is obesity-related and grounds for prescribing medication can depend on the doctor, so get a second opinion if you disagree with your doctor’s assessment. These health problems can become severe if left unchecked and prescription weight loss medications may be the answer you have been looking for.
The most common weight loss medications work by suppressing the appetite. These types of diet aids have been around for decades, with amphetamines and Dexedrine being used even back in the 1950s. A new type of appetite suppressant drugs uses a slightly different mechanism to achieve the same result, reducing their appeal for abuse. For example, the popular drug Meridia inhibits the release of a certain type of brain chemical that is responsible for signaling hunger. This way, the patient never even gets hungry, so there is no feeling of depriving themselves of something they want. Unfortunately, Meridia is known to increase blood pressure and heart rate, making it unsafe for many people with cardiovascular issues.
Besides the weight loss medications that suppress appetite, there is another class of drugs designed to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb fat from food. Xenical was the first of these lipase inhibitor medications to be approved. These drugs work by inhibiting the body’s production of lipase, which is a necessary part of the fat absorption process. Without this enzyme, fat molecules cannot be broken down and will pass harmlessly through the digestive system. The side effects of Xenical show the drawback to letting fat leave the body in its unprocessed state, with cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, and anal leakage being the most common.
Testing is always being performed on new drugs for the commercial markets, so it is only a matter of time before there are better options for people wishing to lose weight. Some developmental medicines have received short-term FDA approval, but they have shown too many side effects to be approved for mainstream use at this time. With some more refining by the pharmaceutical companies’ research and development departments, they should be available as part of the next wave of prescription weight loss medications.